News Article

Become a Trusted Resource for Clients Faced with CRA Information Gap

Posted: December 05, 2017 By : Knowledge Bureau Staff
Posted in: Strategic Thinking, Financial Literacy, CRA, Financial Advisor, taxation, knowledge bureau, Canada Revenue Agency, tax returns, relationship management, Evelyn Jacks, tax services specialist, tax courses, distinguished financial advisor, taxpayer bill of rights, tax advisor, wealth management, financial education, DFA, tax preparer, small business tax, adult education, Auditor General Report, CRA issues, personal income tax, tax planner, online classes

While Canada Revenue Agency is under fire for failing to provide timely and accurate information to taxpayers, it’s clear that tax and financial advisors have an important role in filling that gap and in the process demonstrate unique value to their clients as trustworthy resources.  But the industry, too, must step up its knowledge in light of increasing complexity.

The Auditor General Report released in November demonstrated startling trends with regards to how effective the Canada Revenue Agency is when fielding inquiries from Canadian taxpayers. The major issues at large, as outlined in the report, were as follows:

  1. The CRA blocks more than 50 percent of phone calls in order to misrepresent their ability to meet service standard parameters.
  2. The CRA provides incorrect information to callers at least 30 percent of the time.

These actions do more than simply inconvenience taxpayers and their advisors.  The financial health of Canadian taxpayers may well be affected, as discussed in Knowledge Bureau’s November poll.   Those who face added scrutiny in aggressive audit activities down the line will have faced obstacles in mitigating their losses on interest, penalties or receipt of benefits without sound advice.  All of this can add up to thousands of dollars, and significant stress.

This makes the advice and services provided by professional tax specialists and their financial advisors even more valuable, especially when all three stakeholders work together on tax efficiencies. Additionally, taxpayers whose returns may have been affected by  incorrect advice or worse, difficult audits from CRA may be in a position to challenge the CRA,  and appeal their outcomes, but all of this requires timely intervention from knowledgeable specialists.

   

Taking on the role of a trustworthy professional resource, with deep and broad knowledge and networks, can greatly strengthen your bond with clients. Canadians are rightly concerned about being able to exercise their rights within a tax system that relies on self-assessment.  Those rights, as reported last week include the right to timely and accurate information from the CRA.

However, given current service standards, it is most important to be proactive in your client relationship management strategy at year end,  by filling in the knowledge gaps and helping your clients answer pertinent tax questions, invest with tax efficiency and defend their rights in aggressive audits.

Knowledge Bureau’s Distinguished Financial Advisor (DFA) – Tax Services Specialist designation  and MFA – Retirement or Business Services Specialist and RWM (Real Wealth Manager) programs can help advisors in the tax accounting and financial services enhance credentials to work more closely together to provide solutions for clients with tax issues. Certificate courses for tax preparation and planning are other options that will allow you to brush up on the latest tax strategies and tax changes.

Additional educational resources: T2 Tax Preparation for Small Businesses, Intermediate Personal Tax Preparation

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